HC Deb 23 February 1965 vol 707 cc225-6
Q4. Mr. Gower

asked the Prime Minister if he will bring agriculture in Wales within the executive authority of the Secretary of State for Wales.

The Prime Minister

I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer I gave to his Question on 16th February.

Mr. Gower

Is the Prime Minister aware that so far the new office of Secretary of State for Wales is more remarkable for the functions which have been excluded than for those which have been included? In particular, can he say why agriculture was not included in view of the fact that there are so many special difficulties and features of farming in parts of Wales which do not always obtain in other parts of the United Kingdom?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend and his colleagues are very much concerned with anything that can be done to help with the special problems of Wales. I am sure that when the hon. Member thinks this matter over, he will not feel that it would be right for us to cut off entirely from the Minister of Agriculture responsibility for agriculture in Wales and that we should not want to have three separate agricultural price reviews taking place.

Mr. Hooson

Will the Prime Minister bear in mind that there is a Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture stationed in Wales and that some of the Welsh agricultural civil servants come under him, whereas others seem to come directly under the Ministry in London? Would it not be far better to have them all under one Permanent Secretary who should be under the Secretary of State for Wales, as is the position in Scotland?

The Prime Minister

In answer to a Question by the hon. and learned Member some time ago, I said why it was felt by the Government, and, I think, by anyone who has studied the question, that the Scottish solution was not the right one in relation to Wales. As to agriculture, there are many services available to the Ministry of Agriculture which are extremely helpful in the Welsh situation and it would be a pity to cut them off and handle them separately.